Make yourself at home.
Steve Carell stars as Mark Hogancamp, a man who, in the past, was viscously attacked outside a bar. Now he finds solace in the creations of his own imagination, which take place in the fictional town of Marwen, during World War 2. Mark spends his time bringing life to the dolls that live in Marwen by taking their photos.
The plot is split into two narratives:
- the history of Marwen – the evil curse that surrounds the little town
- the lurking memories Mark has of the night he was attacked and the looming court date for the perpetrators
We see Mark deal with the deep fear he’s still experiencing and the different ways he attempts to handle it. Seemingly gentle and kind, it’s hard to watch Mark suffer not just the attack, but the strife that follows.
That being said, although Robert Zemeckis does well through a striking portrayal of an ongoing metaphor to show Mark’s struggle, it would have been even more impactful to show Mark before the attack. Letting us see him during his recovery, showing us who he was and how much was taken away. There were hints to this, but the fleeting glimpses of Carell and Janelle Monae during their rehabilitation just didn’t land as much as they could have.
Moreover, Welcome to Marwen is long and although there’s absolute spectacle among the doll action, the unrealistic parts that feel forced are found back on earth with racial caricatures, strange relationship development and mentions of people that seem important but are brushed aside and left untried.
As those who have read my reviews may know, Carell gets to me, there’s just something he does. And there are glimpses of the man that would buckle my emotions during moments of Welcome to Marwen, but the jarring switches to the parallel narratives bring you back to earth quickly.
There’s a nostalgic feel to this unfortunate story. However, I get more emotional at the idea of the film than the film itself, which is a shame. I expected to be knocked on my arse by it.
Side note: I’m not sure if the film didn’t land because I was getting serious Dinner for Schmucks flashbacks? Let me know if you too were affected.
Audience rating: Strong crew of quiet people, person next to me had a stinky, chilli hot dog but I couldn’t say anything because she’s agreed to marry me next year.